The one-and-done years: A look at the Leafs’ recent playoff disappointments

Will the one-and-done curse be broken tonight? The Maple Leafs enter Game 7 Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning with another opportunity to reverse five straight seasons of opening-round playoff exits.

Here’s a look at how the Leafs fared in each of those five seasons, and the fallout

2021, Montreal in 7

What happened The Leafs jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, and appeared in cruise mode. But Montreal won the final three games, including overtime designs in Games 5 and 6.

Why the Leafs lost Montreal goalie Carey Price took control of the series, and the Canadiens defence collapsed around him, making offence difficult for the Leafs. The Leafs later acknowledged they “took their foot off the gas.”

What the front office did This wasn’t supposed to happen after the Leafs added depth in Joe Thornton before the season and Nick Foligno at the trade deadline. Neither returned, with the Leafs taking flyers on Michael Bunting and Nick Ritchie to complement their top six forwards, and David Kämpf and Ondrej Kaše to bring defensive skills to the bottom six.

2020, Columbus in 5

What happened The more talented Leafs didn’t seem prepared for the size and physical play of the Blue Jackets and scored just three goals in their three losses in the best-of-five qualifying round.

Why the Leafs lost Not enough grit. And maybe not enough respect for Columbus, which had stunned Tampa Bay in a…

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